Sunday, 5 January 2020

Farewell To Dublin 1939.

The B & I Lines ferry, M. V. Munster prepares to sail from North Wall, Dublin in 1939 bound for Liverpool.  Sir John Rogerson's Quay on the opposite bank is now lined with modern office blocks. The gasholder, a famous landmark, has long since disappeared.

The photograph is by Fr. Francis P. M. Browne 1880 - 1960. He studied for the priesthood as a Jesuit novitiate in Co Offaly and then at Royal University, Dublin, where he was a classmate of James Joyce.  In 1912, he received a gift from his Uncle Robert, Bishop of Cloyne, a first class ticket from Southampton to Cobh (then Queenstown) via Cherbourg for the maiden voyage of R M S Titanic. He took numerous photographs during his short voyage recording many of his fellow passengers and crew members. He was befriended by a wealthy American couple, who, enjoying his company, offered to pay his return fare onwards to New York. Seeking permission of his superior, he received a telegram "GET OFF THAT SHIP – PROVINCIAL". Landing at Cobh, he returned to Dublin to continue his studies. Learning of the sinking of the ship, he relaised the value of the photographs which he promptly sold to a number of newspapers and journals.  Fr. Browne is regarded by many, as the "Father of Photojournalism" In recognition, Kodak provided him with free film for life.  As a Jesuit Priest, Fr.Browne travelled extensively throughout Ireland as well as Europe using the opportunity to follow his photographic hobby. In his lifetime he took more than 40,000 photographs, many of which have survived.
On completion of his theological studies, Francis Browne joined the Irish Guards and in 1916 was sent to Flanders and France. Wounded five times, and gassed once, he was awarded the Military Cross for distinguished service, and by France, the Croix De Guerre. 
After the war he travelled extensively including an extensive voyage to Australia and South Africa in the hope of improving his health. His travels were fully recorded on film.
Fr Browne died in 1960 aged 80 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.  

 This photograph by Fr.Browne shows the Kilkenny bus loading at Aston Quay, Dublin in 1947. Parcels and passenger's luggage are carried on a roof rack. Porters wait with a barrow for the arrival of a bus from Granard, Co.Longford. 
The shelter backs on to the River Liffey and this was the terminus for provincial services until the Central Bus Station - Busarus, opened in 1953. Most of the buildings in the background still exist, as does a tree, perhaps the same one.

1 comment:

  1. Browne conveyed Titanic-themed talks and kept on snapping ceaselessly. His photos were lost after his passing in 1960 and rediscovered by an alternate cleric, Eddie O'Donnell, after 25 years. Among the 42,000-odd negatives, there were in excess of 1,000 pictures of the Titanic. O'Donnell altered the pictures for a book, Father Browne's Titanic Album, which has been re-discharged to pay tribute to the wreck's centennial.